The Topping E70 DAC is a remarkable digital-to-analog converter that utilizes the highly regarded ESS ES9028PRO chip. Its measurements are impeccable, exceeding the capabilities of even professional audio lab equipment used in design and prototyping. This makes it a standout choice not only for audiophile enthusiasts, but also for professionals in the audio industry. Its performance is truly remarkable, particularly considering its relatively affordable price point.
I am not embarrassed to admit the equipment in my audio test lab isn't fully up to the task of benchmarking this DAC. Nor am I embarrassed to admit my chosen lab equipment, which includes the venerable RME ADI-2 PRO Analog-to-Digital Converter, USB Galvanic Isolation and Isolated Power Supply, cost at least 10 times as much as the Topping E70 DAC. My solace is in the fact that the $30,000 or more Audio Precision APx series of analyzers themselves can't completely get out of the way of this DAC. (At this point I will say the new Quantasylum QA403 Analyzer successor can't get here fast enough. In the meantime, I have a crazy inexpensive E1DA Cosmos ADC en route via DHL as I type.)
So, its all over, right??? We have reached a level of technological progress that a DAC well under $500 provides world class performance. I suppose Euphonic Review should close now, lol.
Same goes for Stereophile, Hifi News, or any other publication that provides objective measurements.
Save one small detail? How does it sound??? More and more that little detail is being forgotten. Entire websites and forums are dedicated to reviews with only data. Nothing more. Is it any wonder the user manual of the Topping E70 DAC is half Audio Precision Charts?? Same goes for their marketing and propaganda.
I am reminded of one of the early 21st century incognito internet audio warriors known to most as NwAVGuy. https://nwavguy.blogspot.com/. He was active for years, but in 2012 seemed to disappear. No, I won't take you down any conspiracy theory rabbit holes, but maybe someone should. I will call him NW for short, but NW was responsible for a very popular no-nonsense DAC called the ODAC. just when asynchronous USB DAC's were starting to take off in the computer audio market.
What I remember most about NW was his refrain that once an audio component reaches a certain level of performance, it is transparent to the human ear. While I disagreed with many of his thoughts, and while I questioned the seemingly arbitrary measurement thresholds claimed by him for 'transparency' that just happened to match his ODAC, I agree in general. There is NO WAY the human ear can detect the difference in 0.0003% THD and 0.00003% THD.
And in spite of all these advancements in SNR, SINAD, THD, Dynamic Range, IMD, etc, our equipment still sounds like it is reproducing the sound of music. Nothing that I am aware of to date has reached that point where it actually sounds like the real thing. There are times I am not even sure if the 'real thing' is what we are after anyway as audio'philes', or audio enthusiasts. Reproduced audio, our brain's response to varied techniques of reproduction, and our overall enjoyment has become an art unto itself.
And maybe, just maybe there are benchmarks and performance characteristics we are overlooking, or perhaps have yet to even discover! The human brain and its interaction with the 5 senses seems to be paradoxically too complex for the most complex being we are aware of, to fully understand!
As for myself, I believe, based on my subjective experience, similar subjective experience by others, and a certain amount of scientific research that the key to high fidelity and higher fidelity audio reproduction lies in the time domain, rather than frequency domain. If something like DSD actually has a fidelity advantage over PCM, it lies in its time domain behavior. (At least in its purest form of conversion. But how multiple DSP's, filterings, multiple noise shapings that is found in the majority of 'DSD NATIVE' DACs, of which this Topping E70 is one, renders any time domain advantage over PCM moot, is a subject for another day.)
Now as the keyboard is shut down, and the test equipment is shut off, I retire for an afternoon of reviewing the Topping E70 by some good old fashioned listening.
Topping E70, with your incredibly smooth and soft sound, take me away on a musical journey. I will see you all on the other side.